The Art of Persuasion: Public Speaking for Impact

Public speaking is no easy task for most people. However, some seem to glow when they are given the microphone and are asked to speak in front of a mass. As such, it would be totally fair for many to wonder what is the secret behind effective public speaking. At the sound of speaking publicly, many would shrivel before the pressure and can’t keep themselves from feeling nervous. Nonetheless, it is totally normal to have butterflies in your stomach, even those who look totally at ease are likely to be nervous or at some point feel the exact same way. You can’t get better at speaking publicly overnight since public speaking is not a talent though it might seem easier for some; it is a skill that requires practice.

Public Speaking Tip #1: Put the Audience First

In order to speak well, you need to be conscious of your audience. The purpose of speaking in front of someone else is to persuade the people listening to you, so at any point of speaking when you are self-conscious of yourself, your speech has lost its purpose. As Carol Fleming, PhD, a San Francisco-based communications coach and author of It's the Way You Say It and The Serious Business of Small Talk says, “The good speaker is the one who leans forward and says who are you? What do you need? How can I help you?”

Public Speaking Tip #2: Plan Ahead

A key to good speeches is preparation. Always take the time to think of the best way to make your speech fit your audience. How can I keep my listeners attention and how to resonate with them would be a question that you should ask yourself. In order to obtain the attention of your listeners, it is crucial to prepare a strong introduction that will capture their minds. At the same time, assembling a thoughtful conclusion is no less important for the key points you want your audience to take away from your speech. 

Public Speaking Tip #3: Listen

Public speaking itself is nevertheless a communication skill and communicating is a two-way skill. When you speak you are not the only one giving out information, as you are speaking watch out for visual cues. How are your audience reacting to your speech? Are they yawning? Or are they rolling their eyes? These cues may suggest that you should skip the unnecessary details and move on or you need to do something so you can prevent your audience from losing interest in the speech.

Public Speaking Tip #4: Make Eye Contact

Last but not least, eye contact is essential when you are making a speech. Not just when you are listening, but when you are talking, making eye contact with the audience shows that you are engaged and you care about them. So when speaking in front of the crowd, remember to look at everyone, not just that one smiley face at the corner.

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